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A patient's guide to cosmetic surgery sponsored by Nuffield Health

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Nuffield Health, a leading provider of cosmetic surgery in the UK, with a network of 30 private hospitals across the country.

Cosmetic surgery

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Facelift guide


A facelift is one of the best known types of cosmetic surgery. Once accessible only to film stars and celebrities, the facelift has become more acceptable and many women and men now consider it in their early middle age. A facelift can improve the youthful appearance of the facial skin, reducing wrinkles, removing sagging skin and giving more definition to the cheeks and eyes. A facelift generally lasts about 10 years – it doesn’t stop you ageing but you will look younger than your age for several years to come.

Why consider a facelift?

A facelift cannot work miracles but if you are reasonably trim, your facial skin has not been damaged by smoking or excessive sun, a facelift in your 50s can give you a great boost in confidence. The procedure is available to men and women but more than 90% of facelifts done in the UK are undertaken on women.

The facelift tackles the middle part of the face, pulling the skin back so that the cheeks are better defined and the wrinkles around the mouth are reduced. This cosmetic surgery procedure is often done with a necklift and can also be combined with an endoscopic browlift.

What is involved in facelift surgery?

Your cosmetic surgeon will make incisions around your face at the hairline. These are positioned so that scarring is kept to the absolute minimum. The skin is pulled and excess tissue is trimmed away. Fat can be re-distributed under the skin and once the cosmetic surgeon is happy with the result, the incisions are closed. You may need a combination of dissolvable stitches and non-dissolvable – these will need to be removed at a follow up appointment about a week later.

What to expect after a facelift

You will need to stay in hospital for 1-2 nights and you will have drains coming from your wounds for the first 24 hours. Your face will be bandaged to support the delicate tissues and you should expect quite a lot of swelling and bruising. You will be given pain relief and you may need to take paracetamol or ibuprofen once you are home, but just for a few days. You should rest but have periods where you move around to keep your circulation active. It may help to rest with your head raised on pillows to reduce the swelling.

Most people recover sufficiently to go back to work in two weeks but you may want to allow longer than this if you feel self conscious about any remaining bruising.

What risks are involved in a facelift?

In addition to the general risks of any surgery, having a facelift can have the following side effects:

  • More swelling than you were expecting; your face will not feel like your own but this will soon pass.
  • Scarring – the incisions are placed very close to the hairline so that they can be more easily disguised. If the scar extends into the hairline, this can become raised and men may find shaving more difficult.
  • Nerve damage in the skin. If a lot of fat is removed from under the skin during your facelift, some of the nerves may be damaged and you may notice a loss of sensation in your face. This may be temporary, with feeling returning over the next few months, or it could be permanent.

What does a facelift cost?

Typical range in a UK private hospital or clinic is £3,770.00 - £7,900.00.

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